Apparel and prescription drugs led growing price pressures on households in February, according to the latest U.S. consumer price numbers.
Services remain the biggest driver of rising pressures, however.
The so-called core inflation rate—excluding food and energy—edged up to 2.3% year-to-year. It was the fourth straight month in which core inflation edged higher.
The trend in this core inflation measure is what will keep the Federal Reserve intent on raising interest rates, even though overall consumer prices including food and energy were down month-to month and up only 1% from a year ago.
- Prices for food at home remain lower (-0.4%) than a year ago, although they edged up from the prior month on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Energy prices are down nearly 13% from a year ago.
- Apparel prices jumped 1.6% from the prior month. Compared with a year ago, however, they are up a modest 0.9%.
- Prescription drug prices climbed 0.9% from the prior month and are up 3.4% from a year ago.
- Price pressures in services are focused in medical care, rent, house payments, and education.
See the table summary for more detail.
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